Is Your City Ready?

The Time Is Now to Do the Research and Have a Plan in Place, Before the Natural Disaster Happens. The Recovery of Your Community’s Food System Depends on It.

The purpose of our resilience lab is to create a dedicated space for advancing the field of food system resilience.

We welcome all researchers, policymakers and practitioners. We are working on building out discussion and dissemination platforms. We partner with other networks such as 100 Resilient Cities.

City leaders are prioritizing resilience in response to climate change and natural disasters, but too often they fail to specifically address the resilience of their food systems. Most cities expect to provide residents with food for a relatively short period of time—a few weeks at most—during the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. They are not prepared for the extensive, catastrophic events that are increasing with climate change and the prolonged food system disruptions they cause, which may last months or years.

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Food System Resilience Framework

While many definitions for resilience exist, at the core are three basic principles: the ability to adapt to changing conditions, withstand disruptions, and return to pre-existing conditions. At the Feeding Cities Group, we use the groundbreaking urban food system resilience framework first developed by Kim Zeuli at ICIC in 2015. We continue to refine it as we apply it to new cities globally.

Food Processing

Food Insecurities

Food Distribution

Government Policies & Practices

Food Retail


Food System Resilience Assessments


We partnered with Toronto Public Health and the City of Toronto, with support from Cadmus, to conduct a vulnerability assessment of Toronto’s food system. Resilient Food Systems, Resilient Cities: A High-Level Vulnerability Assessment of Toronto’s Food System, examines the potential impact of flooding, an extended heat wave, and a major winter ice storm on Toronto’s food supply, food access and public health issues.

Read our article in a special issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Climate Change and Health Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments

New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Portland (Maine), and Madison (Wisconsin)

Commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, The Resilience of America’s Food Systems: Evidence from Five Cities outlines a playbook for city leaders with five recommendations to strengthen the resilience of their urban food systems to natural disasters and thereby ensure that food access in all neighborhoods returns to pre-disaster levels as quickly as possible.



In 2015, we were commissioned by the City of Boston for the first food system resilience assessment in the U.S.  The report, Resilient Food Systems, Resilient Cities, has influenced leaders in the region to take steps to address food system vulnerabilities.

The Feeding Cities Book

There is enormous current interest in urban food systems, with a wide array of policies and initiatives intended to increase food security, decrease ecological impacts and improve public health. A collection of articles edited by Christopher Bosso, professor of public policy at Northeastern University, Feeding Cities: Improving local food access, security, and resilience is a cross-disciplinary and applied approach to urban food system sustainability, health, and equity.